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Technology changes 'long overdue'

The author of today's report into the Metropolitan Police's use of new technology said:

The Met has been paying over theodds for technology for years – much of which has gone on maintaining acollection of out-dated and increasingly inefficient systems put together overthe last 40 years. This has got to change.

“Every other person has asmartphone in their pocket and yet the Met are only just starting to look atrolling out similar tools. They should also be working on predictive crimemapping, like that used in Los Angeles, to get officers in the right place atthe right time to deter criminals and reassure the public."

– John Biggs AM, Chair of the Budget and Performance Committee

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Met's key areas for improvement

A report from the London Assembly says the Metropolitan Police must use more new technology to help fight crime. It says this could save the force time and money. The report highlighted key areas to improve the force's use of technology:

  • Mobile technology: The report welcomes plans to introduce 20, 000 mobile devices to officers over the next year. It says if they're implemented properly, they could save time and paperwork by allowing officers to file reports on the go.
  • Predictive crime mapping: A computer programme that uses historic crime statistics and other facts - such as the weather - to predict the areas where crime is most likely to occur. A six month trial in Los Angeles showed crime rates decreased by 12% and vehicle crime by 25%.
  • Mobile technology: The Committee also calls for the force to do more to make the most of social media, like Twitter, which offer a cheap and effective platform to reach out to communities.

Met lags behind in new technologies

Metropolitan Police badge Credit: PA

Today's report into the use of technology in the Met compares the force to others across the world. It says not enough has been done to bring innew technologies – like predictive crime mapping, mobile handheld devices andsocial media – to make working practices more efficient and reduce crime.

Smart policing_, by the Assembly’s Budget and Performance Committee argues that, faced with a 20 per cent cut in spending over the next three years, the Met can no longer afford to spend 85% of its ICT budget on maintaining old technology, some of which dates back to the 1970s.

The force has a total of 750 separate systems, 70% are already redundant, rising to 90% by 2015.

New plan to protect future of London's smallest theatres

Some of the capital's lesser known theatres are at risk of closing unless more is done to help them survive, according to a new report from the London Assembly.

Almost half of London's 105 smaller venues feel insecure about their financial future, while more than a third are anxious that their venue might be sold to developers.

The report, named 'Centre Stage, will set out an action plan to help protect small theatres from closure.

Recommendations include appointing a new ambassador for small theatres and allowing venues to advertise on public transport by replacing out of date posters or filling empty spaces.

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Assembly to examine homeless scheme

St Mungo's Trust and Thames Reach are helping to reach 831 people sleeping rough on the capital's streets Credit: ITV London

The London Assembly is to examine the capital's first Social Impact Bond - a new way to fund social projects using private investment.

The Mayor, Boris Johnson, introduced one of these bonds in November 2012 to target more than 800 people sleeping rough on London's streets.

The three-year scheme allows charities, social investment companies and individuals to contribute to social projects, and all could make a profit if key targets are met.

The London Assembly's Budget and Performance Committee is to examine those behind the approach, to find out if it's working.

Mayor's air pollution measures examined

Experts will discuss if Boris Johnson is doing enough to improve London's air quality at a meeting of the London Assembly's Environment Committee later this morning.

Guests including the Mayor's Environmental adviser will answer questions from the Committee on Boris' plans to reduce air pollution.

The Mayor's measures include plans to ensure that by 2020 the vast majority of vehicles in the capital's centre during the working day emit low or zero emissions.

He has also suggested plans to introduce an Ultra Low Emissions Zone in central London.

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